First and second eye cataract surgery and driver self-regulation among older drivers with bilateral cataract: A prospective cohort study
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Background: Driving a car is the most common form of transport among the older population. Common medical conditions such as cataract, increase with age and impact on the ability to drive. To compensate for visual decline, some cataract patients may self-regulate their driving while waiting for cataract surgery. However, little is known about the self-regulation practices of older drivers throughout the cataract surgery process. The aim of this study is to assess the impact of first and second eye cataract surgery on driver self-regulation practices, and to determine which objective measures of vision are associated with driver self-regulation. Methods: Fifty-five older drivers with bilateral cataract aged 55+ years were assessed using the self-reported Driving Habits Questionnaire, the Mini-Mental State Examination and three objective visual measures in the month before cataract surgery, at least one to three months after first eye cataract surgery and at least one month after second eye cataract surgery. Participants' natural driving behaviour in four driving situations was also examined for one week using an in-vehicle monitoring device. Two separate Generalised Estimating Equation logistic models were undertaken to assess the impact of first and second eye cataract surgery on driver-self-regulation status and which changes in visual measures were associated with driver self-regulation status. Results: The odds of being a self-regulator in at least one driving situation significantly decreased by 70% after first eye cataract surgery (OR: 0.3, 95% CI: 0.1-0.7) and by 90% after second eye surgery (OR: 0.1, 95% CI: 0.1-0.4), compared to before first eye surgery. Improvement in contrast sensitivity after cataract surgery was significantly associated with decreased odds of self-regulation (OR: 0.02, 95% CI: 0.01-0.4). Conclusions: The findings provide a strong rationale for providing timely first and second eye cataract surgery for older drivers with bilateral cataract, in order to improve their mobility and independence.
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